Music News

The Horace Van Vaughn

Those more used to the blues-rock buffoonery of Machine Gun Blues and the breezy pop-rock leanings of the Laylights may be taken aback by The Horace Van Vaughn (due at the hi-dive this Thursday, November 8). While this all-instrumental outfit shares membership with both of those bands, there is no ridiculous self-spectacle involved, and virtually all gestures toward mainstream accessibility are gone. Instead, the group traffics in a tapestry of musical minimalism that results in scintillating and revelatory psychedelia. Think Pink Floyd circa Live at Pompeii, or a top-secret, last-minute, Toronto post-rock-scene jam session with Godspeed You! Black Emperor and its art-noise spawn. The Horace Van Vaughn conjures John Cage's unflinching stare into infinite horizons, with Philip Glass providing the soundtrack. While you might expect the live show to be about as exciting as watching a meteor shower, performances are often accompanied by projections that bolster the portentous mystery in the act's songs. And although its name is as archaic and cryptic as a reference to Joshua A. Norton, the imagination is just as easily stirred by the band's hypnotic anti-melodies.

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Tom Murphy is a writer, visual artist and musician from Aurora, Colorado. He was a prolific music writer for Westword and a documenter of the Denver music scene.